As most of you know, this past year I had to submit out-of-network claims to our insurance on my own. And geez, it sure was a process!
But I am delighted to tell you that yesterday, we finally got a pile of checks for the bills we’d submitted.
I learned a few things on this fun trip, and I thought I’d write them down in case any of you have to do this in the future.
1. Be really, really careful when you fill out the forms.
At first, Mr. FG and I sent in forms with one box checked incorrectly.
Unfortunately, this was the box that sent payment directly to the provider instead of to us.
You would think that perhaps the provider could just cash the checks and credit our account, but alas, that was not to be.
That kick-started a long process of trying to get those checks cancelled and new ones sent to us and all of that pain could have been avoided if we’d read the submission forms more carefully.
Moral: Don’t be like me. Read the directions carefully!
2. Be ready to be persistent.
It took a fair amount of stick-to-it-ive-ness on my part to get this finally taken care of.
I had to do resubmissions and have multiple phone sessions over the course of a few months to finally get our reimbursement resolved.
Insurance companies, like rebate companies, are quite content to not pay you. You have to be a polite but persistent thorn in their flesh.
3. Ask for a reference number when you call.
Write that down and you’ll be in much better shape for any future calls. Then whatever rep who happens to answer your call can easily get caught up on where your claim is.
Also: write down the date they tell you to expect a result from your call (a statement, a check, etc.) That way you know when it’s time to call back and follow up.
(Hat tip to WilliamB for telling me to do this.)
4. Keep an eye out for errors.
There’s plenty of room for human error here, so check the paperwork and EOBs, and be familiar with your policy so that you know when something hasn’t been done right.
(This holds true for in-network medical bills too! I’ve encountered a lot of errors over the years.)
5. It’s very wise to have a medical savings account.
It can take a pretty long time to get your reimbursement, so you really do not want to be using your mortgage money to pay your out-of-network bill.
6. Stay in-network as often as possible.
This experience has taught me to appreciate the fact that most of the time, the provider’s office takes care of ALL the insurance paperwork for me.
God bless those insurance coordinators! I can’t imagine dealing with health insurance all day long, but I am grateful for people who do it, day in and day out.
Now that we got paid, I’m going to be over here gleefully shredding documents that I no longer need. EXCELLENT.